Photo:Dawn Pointer McCleskey

Dawn Pointer McCleskey

Dawn Pointer McCleskey is the program manager of (formerly DigitalGov Search) at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). She is a librarian on a mission to help people find what they are looking for.

News and Events

Search.govlogo 2021 Year In Review—This report explores the top needs of 2021, expressed in the public’s own words. In addition to topics common every year, this year for the first time we explored the topic of infrastructure, and took a look at public searching behaviors. For each of the 18 topics, this report provides the top 25 searches in that topic, trend data since 2019, and the top websites serving the public in that area. — via

Feb 22, 2022

Search Metrics

The Federal Web in the Year of COVID-19

The past year was like no other. We take a look at how it affected federal website traffic and search data.
Apr 16, 2021

In 2019, served 295,916,305 queries across more than 2,000 government websites. Find out more in their annual report, including the most common topics that people searched for. — via

Jan 27, 2020


Indexing with

Come take a walk through the indexing process from start to finish.
Apr 25, 2019

How Search Engines Index Your Websites

Join as they walk you through the fundamentals of how search engines monitor your content and pull relevant data from your pages.
May 29, 2018

An Introduction to

Learn about the essential features of and tour its Admin Center.
May 03, 2018

Dear Search: Reading Between the Lines of Search Data

Welcome to the first Dear Search article, an occasional series where the DigitalGov Search team addresses common search questions. Dear Search, Right now, I am building up user research services that can be offered to product owners on a regular or as-needed basis. So, being able to look at search trends and offer advice to
Oct 21, 2016

Let’s Encrypt Those CNAMES, Shall We?

This is post 4 in the 5-part series, The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment. This post references the previous posts frequently, so please read those before reading this one if you haven’t done so already. In addition to the DNS challenges created by offering “masked” domains such
Sep 07, 2016

Quality, Speed, and Lower Costs: Yes, You Can Have It All

This is post 2 in the 5-part series The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment. The last major infrastructure upgrade that DigitalGov Search had was in 2010. Not only has technology evolved significantly since then, but so have business models for right-sizing costs. Moving to Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Sep 02, 2016

The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment

This is the first post of a 5-part series. DigitalGov Search is a commercial-grade search engine provided as a shared-service by the United States General Services Administration. We power about 2,300 search configurations for hundreds of federal, state, and local government agencies. Using our platform, agencies can easily configure a search experience for the public that
Aug 18, 2016

HTTPS and Other Ranking Factors: What Impacts the SEO of Government Websites?

Following the recent OMB memo that all publicly available federal websites and Web services must implement HTTPS by December 31, 2016, Web content managers across government are considering the SEO (search engine optimization) implications of the transition, among other details.
Sep 02, 2015

Search, Buscar, Поиск, جستجو, Cari: Creating a Good, Multilingual Search Experience

Government agencies across the United States publish content in a growing number of languages to do the business of the country. In 2015, DigitalGov Search dramatically expanded support for languages on our search results page, expanding from just English and Spanish to support 68 different languages.
Aug 31, 2015

Our Customer is Your Customer: Working Together to Improve Search on .Gov Websites

We know search engines aren’t Magic 8 Balls, but that’s still how we expect them to behave. We want them to answer our complex and burning questions based on just a few words. And we’ve felt that frustration when the top search results don’t serve our needs, and the results page itself makes us work.
May 14, 2015

Mobilegeddon: Government Edition

Much is being said and written about the coming Mobilegeddon/Mopocalypse on April 21st—the day Google’s ranking algorithm will begin boosting results for mobile-friendly sites and penalizing mobile-unfriendly sites. While some agency websites are mobile-friendly, a great many are not. We will do well to pay attention—almost 25% of traffic on government websites is coming from
Apr 15, 2015